Apparently owning a championship-winning race team wasn’t enough for Major League Baseball pitcher and noted car enthusiast CJ Wilson.
At the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Wilson went on air with IMSA Radio and told the world that he was planning on running the full 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season. Then, earlier this month, he officially announced that he was retiring from professional baseball to pursue an expanded career in motorsports. While this news surprised much of the professional baseball world, to the racing world it was just the logical next step for the 36-year-old former All-Star pitcher.
"It's great to take another step towards my goals,” said Wilson, who headed to Texas World Speedway in College Station, Texas earlier this month to log laps in his new Porsche GT3 Cup car. He brought CJ Wilson Racing’s Marc Miller along to help get him up to speed.
"CJ did great today, but I expected as much,” said Miller. “He is logical and methodical which makes him easy to help, and that translated into a very quick progression along the learning curve.”
“Having Marc as my coach was incredibly helpful,” Wilson added. “We have a lot of faith in each other and communicate using the same terms. Having sat in on driver debriefings for the past six years with the race team, I was able to take all the input logically. We had a chance to burn through two sets of tires today and I made a lot of progress.”
Wilson had the 48-year-old facility all to himself, something he had yet to experience in an on-track capacity. He noted that it created something of an eerie vibe, and half expected characters from The Walking Dead or Twilight Zone to make an appearance.
“Texas World Speedway is now late in its life and a bit of a ghost town environment,” added Miller. “It’s quite ironic seeing as its this the spot where CJ (Wilson)'s driving career, in a proper race car, began.”
With the initial dust-off complete, Wilson will head to Sebring International Raceway to compete in the opening pair of races on the Porsche GT3 Cup USA calendar on March 16-17. The transition will be at least figuratively smooth, if not literally, as Sebring shares the rough and bumpy characteristics that now inhabit Texas World Speedway.
“I’m looking forward to getting back in the car to pick up where I left off," said Wilson.
Miller shares similar sentiments, but for a somewhat different reason.
“Overall, it as a successful first outing and I look forward to working with CJ (Wilson) this season. I expect he will have a solid debut at Sebring. He better, or I'm likely fired!"
Check out CJ WIlson's fastest lap right here on IMSA.com!